There are two main types of runner that require a backpack: the commuter and the long-distance runner. The first needs a pack that holds all the gear they require for a day at the office while still being comfortable enough to wear while running. The second needs a lightweight pack to carry the water and food they need to fuel long runs, as well as some basic safety gear if they’re heading for the trails.

While there is some overlap, those two different types of runner require two different types of running backpack, so we’ve picked out the best of each.

The Best Running Backpacks For Long Runs

Osprey Duro 6

The Duro comes in three sizes – 1.5-litre, 6-litre and 15-litre – with the middle option hitting the sweet spot of enough space to carry everything you need without being bulky. The two straps come with a 500ml soft flask each, and the strap pocket is also big enough to carry a smartphone – any smartphone; even phablet fans are catered for. The multiple straps ensures the Duro 6 won’t budge while you’re running, plus they’re ventilated to avoid excessive under-strap sweating. £90, buy on, check price on

Nathan Fireball

Fireball is an excellent name for a running backpack and Nathan has nailed it on the colourway name too, with this blue and green mix called Cockatoo. The bag also excels when it comes to more practical matters, with space for water bottles in each strap, mesh pockets on the front for gels and energy bars, and a 7-litre main pocket for waterproofs and any other gear you need. £67.50, buy on

Salomon Adv Skin 5 Set

By wrapping around your upper body to fit as closely as possible, this backpack aims to be completely unobtrusive while you’re running, moving with your body to avoid rubbing and bouncing. It succeeds in this endeavour, making it an excellent option for longer races where you just need to carry the bare essentials. Pockets are tucked into every available space on the pack and the large back pocket has a removable sleeve for a hydration bladder. £100, buy on

Hoka One One Evo R F-light

This backpack is a little larger than the vest packs that make up the rest of the list, but rest assured it’s still featherlight at around 170g and the Velcro straps make it easy to adjust it to fit comfortably. There are five pockets in the straps, two large for water bottles and three small for gels, bars and the essentials. £100, buy on

Kalenji Men’s Running Trail Bag

For those working on a tight budget, this Kalenji pack is a great option. The side pockets are bizarrely difficult to access for a bag designed to be used on the go and it’ll take a fair bit of fiddling with the straps to get it set up so it doesn’t bounce, but given that it’s a quarter of the price of many premium running backpacks, a few small irritations are acceptable. £24.99, buy on

Inov-8 Race Elite Vest

Even the very best backpacks can be infuriating to use in the cold if they have zip pockets. If you run in an area where numb fingers are a constant concern this lightweight pack, which only has stretch pockets that can be easily accessed in chilly weather, might be your best bet. £55, buy on

The Best Running Backpacks For Commuting

Osprey Talon 11

Osprey’s Talon range runs from this natty little 11-litre daypack all the way up to a 44-litre rucksack, and if you need more space than the 11-litre, the next option up – the Talon 18 – might be the better pick. For our money, however, we’d rather stuff everything into the 11-litre, since a smaller pack makes for a more comfortable run. The side zip pockets offer quick access to essentials like keys or your workplace ID card, and the mesh-covered foam back panel is comfortable and well ventilated. £75, buy on, check price on

dhb Slice

The Slice comes in 15-litre and 30-litre versions, with the former clearly the more suitable for running to work. It’s able to hold all your clothes and a pair of shoes, with side pockets for emergency items like a rain jacket. Slim and light, with chest and waist straps to stop the bag moving around too much when running, this is a capable option at a modest price. £23.99, buy on

Deuter Speed Lite 15

Ultra-light yet durable, the Speed Lite 15 has a tapered shape which allows your arms that little bit of extra freedom when running. Deuter also makes 5-litre, 10-litre and 20-litre of the Speed Lite, but the 15-litre is pitched exactly right for most work needs, although the bigger version is better if you have to carry a 15in laptop to and fro. £45, buy on


Creases are the natural enemy of the run commuter, as it’s very tricky to get a shirt into work in a backpack without it getting scrunched up. This problem is solved with the IAMRUNBOX backpack, with its hard, boxy design allowing you to fold clothes correctly and tuck them in safe and sound until they are required. £99, buy on

Salomon Agile 12 Set

A good option for savvy packers, or those who don’t need to wear a full suit and smart shoes at work, this 12-litre option is comfortable and hardy enough to wear on long-distance trail runs, so it’ll definitely do the job for your commute. £80, buy on

OMM Adventure 20

Despite being spacious enough to accommodate everything the work day could possibly throw at you due to its 20-litre capacity, the Adventure 20 remains light and easy to run with. The benefit of the extra size also extends beyond having a choice of socks for the office – you can also use the Adventure 20 for longer hikes. £70, buy on